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Stephen Mayo | Being Hard on Yourself

Being Hard on Yourself

May 12, 2024

"He's not hard on himself," said Johnson..."He's just really good at self-evaluation."

          - Former coach Wes Johnson describing Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Paul Skenes



It's easy to think that beating yourself up is the only way to get really good.  But some successful people achieve elite status without self-flagellation.


Improvement in a skill only requires two things:

  1. knowing what to do differently
  2. doing it


Simple enough, but our psyche has many tricks that trip us up. 

We may fail to recognize what we need to work on because the truth would threaten our ego.  Or we might acknowledge what needs to change but lack the courage to do what's uncomfortable or the stamina to do what's arduous.  Then we may invent other tasks to keep us busy so we can tell ourselves we're working hard.

Relentless self-criticism is a "trick" to get us to keep working that relies on fear of what will happen if we don't.

But there's another option. Learn to see yourself more clearly and discern what needs attention.  Enlist tools (e.g. game footage) & skilled partners (coaches or mentors) to help you determine what needs the most work. Then release your attachment to looking good, and practice the tasks that need it.

You'll improve more quickly without the baggage of constant self-criticism.  And you'll enjoy the process much more. 


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